There’s a problem with being yourself in interviews, you can come off a jackass. Such is the case of Brett Ratner who has bowed out of producing the Oscars ceremony following several controversial comments given during interviews to promote “Tower Heist”.
The “Rush Hour” and “Red Dragon” director addressed rumors about a relationship with Olivia Munn with unflattering remarks such as “I banged her a few times… but I forgot her… I used to date Olivia Munn.. when she was Lisa. That was the problem. She wasn’t Asian back then” but later backtracked saying he lied about having relations with her.
Then there was an explicit interview on Howard Stern where he talked about his balls, sperm count and getting Lindsay Lohan tested for V.D. when she was young. The most damning however came during a Q&A about his directorial style at a “Tower Heist” screening during which he said “Rehearsal’s for fags”.
The behind-the-scenes scorn has built up enough that Ratner has stepped down as producer of the upcoming Oscar telecast and posted an open letter of apology. Here’s a copy of said letter:
“Over the last few days, I’ve gotten a well-deserved earful from many of the people I admire most in this industry expressing their outrage and disappointment over the hurtful and stupid things I said in a number of recent media appearances. To them, and to everyone I’ve hurt and offended, I’d like to apologize publicly and unreservedly.
As difficult as the last few days have been for me, they cannot compare to the experience of any young man or woman who has been the target of offensive slurs or derogatory comments. And they pale in comparison to what any gay, lesbian, or transgender individual must deal with as they confront the many inequalities that continue to plague our world.
So many artists and craftspeople in our business are members of the LGBT community, and it pains me deeply that I may have hurt them. I should have known this all along, but at least I know it now: words do matter. Having love in your heart doesn’t count for much if what comes out of your mouth is ugly and bigoted. With this in mind, and to all those who understandably feel that apologies are not enough, please know that I will be taking real action over the coming weeks and months in an effort to do everything I can both professionally and personally to help stamp out the kind of thoughtless bigotry I’ve so foolishly perpetuated.
As a first step, I called Tom Sherak this morning and resigned as a producer of the 84th Academy Awards telecast. Being asked to help put on the Oscar show was the proudest moment of my career. But as painful as this may be for me, it would be worse if my association with the show were to be a distraction from the Academy and the high ideals it represents.
I am grateful to GLAAD for engaging me in a dialogue about what we can do together to increase awareness of the important and troubling issues this episode has raised and I look forward to working with them. I am incredibly lucky to have a career in this business that I love with all of my heart and to be able to work alongside so many of my heroes. I deeply regret my actions and I am determined to learn from this experience.
AMPAS president Tom Sherak said Tuesday afternoon in a statement: “He did the right thing for the academy and for himself. Words have meaning, and they have consequences. Brett is a good person, but his comments were unacceptable. We all hope this will be an opportunity to raise awareness about the harm that is caused by reckless and insensitive remarks, regardless of the intent.”
The question has now become who will replace him. It’s expected Ratner’s co-producer Don Mischer will remain onboard, it’s uncertain if host Eddie Murphy will still be there (though it seems likely he’ll stay onboard). Some talk up at Deadline already indicates the likes of Scott Sanders, Joe Roth, Adam Shankman, Laurence Mark and Lorne Michaels are all being floated as potential replacements, one idea is that Tina Fey might get involved in the writing.
No doubt there’ll be more to come on this later this week.